A mix of grey, white and black gives this home an understated, timeless look.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
A mix of grey, white and black gives this home an understated, timeless look.
My Reading Room


By letting in natural light and adopting a neutral palette, the home feels spacious and open. Also, the enclosed kitchen that is characteristic of old flats is gone.

The open kitchen is now part of the main living space.
My Reading Room

High above the pulsating streets of Chinatown, this three-room Housing Board flat is a serene and breezy haven. “I wanted to promote its cross ventilation and make the interiors linear,” says designer Francis Leong. “We pretty much ripped everything up and then focused on the quality of the space. The aim of the material selection is to ensure that the space looks good even after five or 10 years.”

For Francis, the project holds special meaning to him. His client is a long-time friend of more than 20 years. “The layout also has strong sentimental value to me, because I grew up with (this type of home) until I was 12,” he shares. “It reminds me of my childhood space. I was very excited when she told me about the unit.”

Having been friends for so long, Francis knew the homeowner’s preferences well.

He planned an interior with finishes in white, grey and black. With that to guide them, the homeowner roped in her friends and completed shopping for furniture within a month.

My Reading Room

Meanwhile, over a renovation period of about three months, the interiors took shape. Both the living area and kitchen were combined into one free-flowing space. A large island with a compact dining table takes centre stage. “The intent was to make it the focus, and keep the rest toned down. The concept of the interiors is a raw look, but with grey tones,” he says.

One major design feature is the main wall that stretches from the main door towards the kitchen. In the living area, it hides storage space and holds the television flush against the wall. On the other side of the wall is a spacious bedroom connected to a walk-in wardrobe.

The homeowner also wanted the bathroom overhauled. Old flats, such as this unit, originally came with two separate bathroom zones and a sink typically placed outside. The challenge was to have the three areas within one bathroom space. Four design options later, Francis arrived at the solution to set up the entire bathroom behind the large feature wall.

This delighted the homeowner, too.

“I like every corner of my home, but the bathroom was a pleasant surprise.

It’s such a big difference from how it looked like before! I also appreciate the little details and storage spaces,” she says. “My home is very comfortable.

It’s just like having the perfect dress, where you like the collar, the cut, the colour, and everything else.
More: space bathroom